TAMPA — For the past 11 years, Louisville’s Mercy Academy has participated in the annual Berkeley Premier volleyball tournament. In that time, they’ve left Tampa Bay with the tournament title seven times. After Saturday, they’ll do it again.
Mercy, the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the nation, defeated host Berkeley Prep in the tournament championship, 25-20 and 25-11.
It was the fourth meeting between the nationally recognized programs in the Premier final.
“The main reason we come is for the major competition,” Mercy coach Todd Garvey said.
Courtney Crable led Mercy (21-0) with nine kills and six aces. Devon Rachel added six kills.
Berkeley (9-2) stayed close in the first set, but allowed Mercy an early double-digit lead in the second.
“We could have beaten them,” Berkeley senior outside hitter Sidney Brown said. “They served better than we did and they had better ball control, but when we had those together, we were there with them.”
Berkeley defeated last year’s national champion, Orlando Bishop Moore, in the tournament semis.
Berkeley and Clearwater Central Catholic were the only area teams to advance to the championship bracket of the 24-team event. CCC lost in the quarters and played in the seventh-place match. Academy of the Holy Names was the next highest local finisher at 16th.
Durant captures tourney at HCC
Durant claimed its second tournament title of the season Saturday, going 4-0 to win the 2013 Lady Hawks High School Volleyball Invitational, hosted by the Hillsborough Community College women’s team.
In the deciding match, seniors Lexi Thompson and Victoria Fanning each had nine kills in a sweep against Bradenton Manatee. Steinbrenner went 3-1 to finish second.
Rachel Rice added 29 assists for Durant, which improved to 14-0. Thompson and Kelsey Morton were named Co-MVPs of the tournament. Also on the all-tournament team: Annie Quinn (Durant), Lexi Hicks (Lakeland), Kaitlin Boyd (Jenkins), Lauren Heldt (Steinbrenner), Noelle Dietrich (Plant City), Lauren Howell (East Bay), Lauren Nelson (Sickles), Shannon Winder (Manatee) and Karissa Rhoades (Bloomingdale).
Clearwater takes title
Clearwater beat Strawberry Crest in the final to win the Wharton Harvest Tournament. The Tornadoes finished 4-1. Wharton finished third.